Thomas Edward "Tom" Merchant, 74, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, at Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha from complications due to several strokes.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Vinton, with the Rev. Ardel Barta as celebrant. Visitation will be held at the church on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until Mass. Interment will be in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, Vinton, with military rites performed by Garrison American Legion Post 475 and U.S. Navy Funeral Honors.
Tom was born Sept. 4, 1942, in Vinton, Iowa, the son of James Woodrow and Hazel Marie Schulte Merchant. He was raised on a farm near Garrison and graduated from Garrison High School in 1960. He went on to receive a degree in ag business from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. Tom farmed with his dad and uncle, Lester Duchacek, after graduation.
On June 22, 1963, Tom was united in marriage with Barbara Helen Kvidera at St. Paul Catholic Church in Traer.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 4, 1965, completing boot camp in San Diego, Calif. After four years in the service, he returned to Iowa and resumed farming. Later in life, he worked at Wal-Mart in Cedar Rapids for over five years, retiring in 2005 after a series of strokes.
Tom was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Vinton and Garrison American Legion Post 475. He enjoyed flying his airplane and taking his family to Iowa Flying Famers meetings and to other events.
Tom is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara H. Merchant, of Vinton; his mother, Hazel Merchant, of Vinton; son, Craig (Terri) Merchant, of Wellman; daughter, Kelli Merchant, of Cedar Rapids; sister, Monica (Dean) McKenna, of Dysart; six grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, Woody Merchant, and his brother, Anthony Merchant.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Hospice House of Mercy, 315 18th Ave., Hiawatha, IA 52233.
Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Tom and his family. Condolences may be left at www.vsrfh.com.